Police are hunting for a Hong Kong man who allegedly obtained luxury Rolex watches by deception from at least five victims over the past two years.
The suspect, surnamed Ko and aged around 40, who has a lengthy criminal record for theft, reportedly passed himself off as a successful businessman to cheat victims out of Rolex watches, Apple Daily reported.
It was understood that Ko, calling himself Mr Yung, contacted a victim surnamed Yeung in November. Yeung, who had advertised a Rolex watch for sale online for HK$191,000 (US$24,442), was approached by Ko saying he was interested in buying the watch, Apple Daily reported.
“Yung” invited Yeung to bring the watch to an upscale office in Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui district to complete the transaction.
Yeung arrived and was taken to a conference room with a sea view, prompting him to believe that the “buyer” was a top manager of the company.
The scammer, described as being expensively dressed in a suit by a famous maker, looked at the Rolex and then told Yeung that he wanted to let a watch expert further examine it.
The scammer took the watch and left the conference room.
After Yeung waited for 20 minutes without the other man returning, he received a message from the scammer asking him to wait for a few more minutes.
Thirty minutes later, Yeung received another message from the scammer saying he would return to the office soon after withdrawing money from his bank. That was the last he heard from the “buyer”.
Yeung went to office reception desk, where a worker told him that the office was a shared space, and that the other man had only rented the conference room for only a few hundred Hong Kong dollars.
Yueng reported the case to the police and later that night, discovered his watch for sale at shop in Sham Shui Po district which bought and sold second-hand watches.
Police confiscated the watch and the shop owner said he bought the watch from a man for HK$170,000 and insisted that he did not know it was stolen.
According to surveillance camera footage, the scammer left the Tsim Sha Tsui office and went to Sham Shui Po to sell the watch at 4:10pm on Nov 15. The suspect left the store at 4:23pm with cash.
It is understood that, including Yeung, there have been at least five victims who are victims of similar scams over the past two years. Six Rolex watches worth HK$600,000 (US$76,788) in total were lost.
A male victim surnamed Cheung lost a Rolex Daytona worth HK$248,000 in May while a female victim, surnamed Tsang, was cheated out of a Rolex worth HK$83,000 last year.
The victims said the scammer, who called himself Ko, asked them to meet at upscale offices in Central on Hong Kong Island and Kwun Tong in Kowloon.
The three victims wanted to put their cases under the spotlight, hoping that the authorities might catch the culprit as soon as possible.
The police say the suspect, who has multiple criminal convictions and has spent five years in prison, is on the police wanted list. The suspect failed to report to the police last year after being released on bail for one count of stealing of a Rolex watch.